Over prescribed lemecycline caused liv... - British Liver Trust

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Over prescribed lemecycline caused liver damage( FATTY LIVER!!)

Kirstin324 profile image
21 Replies

I was prescribed lemecycline(300-600mgs depending on severity of acne!)10 years ago for acne. Never has it been reviewed or have I been told to stop taking it until 2 weeks ago. The reason being was my liver has got worse and worse over the past 4 years. Only 2 weeks ago did a doc explain what lemecycline can do to the liver. I have had to live with horrific symptoms of recent, and my results have been through the roof. I also have hypotheyroidism. Was given cocodomol aswell but stopped that 2 weeks ago as I know what paracetomol can do to an already damaged liver. Anyone ever heard of a case like this?

21 Replies
Laura009 profile image

Hi Kirstin. Was there not an enclosed leaflet stating the possibility of side effects?

Kirstin324 profile image
Kirstin324 in reply to Laura009

Yes but it never stated about time scale plus I have never had a review in 10 years so had faith in my doctors! Nieve I know.

AyrshireK profile image

There are several incidences of drug induce liver injury (some antibiotics have been particularly noted as triggers for acute active inflammation or triggers for auto immune liver disease). I note you also have a long term diagnosis of Lyme Disease - this can also cause hepatitis and liver injury. I hope you are being referred to a liver specialist to get to the bottom of your situation.


CarpeDiem11 profile image

This seems strange that it was never reviewed, as lymecycline (couldn't find lemecycline) is an antibiotic, I don't understand why you were prescribed this drug for so long. There are the usual suspects listed as common side effects nausea etc, but possible liver damage is listed along with many other things as other possible side effects. I'm afraid I don't know anything from personal experience, but this is what I discovered from a quick search.

You need to check out what has been going on and as Katie has said ask about the meds for the Lyme disease also.

Sadly, it is possible for people to get liver damage from prescribed meds, one used for UTIs (urinary tract infections) causes autoimmune hepatitis and there may be others that do the same. Good luck getting answers.

Kirstin324 profile image
Kirstin324 in reply to CarpeDiem11

excuse my spellings. I had done this very quickly whilst at work. I've only ever had 2 courses of a different antibiotic for my lyme. Other than that its been lymecycline for acne, lethothyroxine for hypothyroidism, pregabelin and a long course of cocodomol!

CarpeDiem11 profile image
CarpeDiem11 in reply to Kirstin324

Not at all. I only mentioned the spelling because I wasn't sure if I was talking about the same thing. It seems that long- term prescribing of drugs for acne has been common. I find this odd as I have to practically beg my GP for a 1 week course of sleeping tablets( have done this once in 12 years). The best thing to do now seems to be to get on board with a hep who can get you a plan. I do hope you get this all resolved as it seems you have plenty going on. Good luck🙂


I'm sorry to hear how you ended up with liver disease. 4 years ago I was diagnosed with fatty liver, my consultant told me it had been caused by meds from my drs over the years. I went on to have Nash and then compensated cirrhosis, I'm not saying you will get this , I'm just saying what happened to me. Hope you get this sorted. Take care Lynne

CarpeDiem11 profile image
CarpeDiem11 in reply to

I think it's good for others to know that this is possible. Thankfully the days of long term prescribing without review seem to be over. It's such a shame that meds had this outcome for you and probably many others.

in reply to CarpeDiem11

Thank you for your kind words. The GP I have now was not very happy that no-one has kept an eye on me, so glad I had the appointment with her that day, she has been absolutely fantastic. How are you feeling at the moment? Take care and stay safe Lynne

I took tetracycline for yearsfor my acne and was never given a review.

Only through routine bloods were my high liver levels picked up.

Kirstin324 profile image
Kirstin324 in reply to ElviralovesFashion

Did they stop the lymecycline straight after?

ElviralovesFashion profile image
ElviralovesFashion in reply to Kirstin324

Yes i wastaken off it straightaway

Lam1e profile image

My sister in law in NZ was prescribed roacutane for her Acne (back in the 90’s) which really helped! However I was working as a med sec and looked up its side effects which said she should be having blood tests quarterly to check it wasn’t damaging her liver. Her GP had not old her about that!

Sorry you are having these problems 🙏

AyrshireK profile image

As my hubbies diagnosis is burned out AIH it points to him having an acute liver injury in the past - he had a rolling prescription for an antibiotic for adult acne years ago and GP wouldn't send him to a skin specialist and all the time this might have been the cause of his liver damage and subsequent cirrhosis - he certainly never had any signs of symptoms of AIH.


Kirstin324 profile image
Kirstin324 in reply to AyrshireK

They have ruled out all AIH which takes me back to finding out in oct if it was drug indused. Def not alcohol. Unlikely the docs will claim liability but it is narrowing the cause. Will find out in 4 weeks if my liver results have improved more. I think that will be the tell tail if its poss down to the meds.

Laura009 profile image

Sorry to read all this. At both our chemist and hospital dispensary, it's the pharmacist who brings the enclosed leaflet to our attention of all prescribed meds and the importance of contacting the doc immediately if any side effects occur. She also highlights if regular bloodtests are required with a particular drug ie the methotrexate my husband takes. First prescribed 4 years ago.

CarpeDiem11 profile image
CarpeDiem11 in reply to Laura009

Wow! Impressive. If only all pharmacists did this! They really deserve a higher profile in the NHS and should be better utilised.😏

Laura009 profile image
Laura009 in reply to CarpeDiem11

We do seem to be very fortunate in Norwich regarding information and care.

We have the lowest number of cases and and deaths of covid19 in the country and apparently none now. Our hospitals and care homes have been so om the ball and people obviously being very sensible regarding looking after their health ( maybe paranoid!!) I made 60 scrubs. No more required for the last month so the last ones went into stock. Hopefully it will stay this way but l fear what may happen once the pubs reopen. During the last 3 months of lockdown the city was completely deserted. My daughter took her walks there and took photos. She said it was like a ghost town ... pretty eerie. She said the strangest thing is watching traffic lights changing but no cars !

Katanya profile image

I totally understand, I was taking tetracycline and this was given to me a few years ago maybe like six or so and I have had so many bad symptoms with my liver since then it seems as if it will never get back to normal my ast alt ratio is always off now so I totally know where your coming from. Some of these meds do horrendous things to our liver I have been trying to improve my liver to the way it was before for a few years now...

Dililiver profile image

Sorry to read that Kirstin.

I also got a drug induced liver injury (hence my username!). In my case it was from only 10 days on a standard oral dose of an antibiotic called flucloxacillin. The patient information leaflet contained a long list of side effects (most drugs have a long list) and liver failure was mentioned but only as very rare . Which it is. So I guess I am just unlucky! My GP practice and a number of other doctors I have spoken to were really taken aback that this drug caused such terrible damage as they had never heard of that happening and prescribe it regularly. It took 2 months , umpteen blood tests, an MRI, U/S and CT, and a terrible liver biopsy result before the hepatology team confirmed it was the drug that did the damage.

I think if a reaction is considered rare doctors don't feel the need to mention it, possibly because they'd scare people off ever taking anything and their patients wouldn't get better, or not quickly enough anyway. I have access to the British National Formulary as part of my job - it's the tool used in Irish hospitals (and presumably all the NHS) to prescribe. When I looked up flucloxacillin I saw a big blue alert box about the possibility of it causing hepatic failure. My GP practice was completely unaware of this.

I had a look for lymecycline in the BNF and it says under Hepatic Impairment "For all Tetracylines: In general, manufacturers advise caution". So no blue box, no strong words. It's also listed under rare/very rare side effects.

It would really be worth finding out if there is a protocol for regular liver checkups, it does seem a bit off that you weren't monitored after 10 years on an antibiotic.

Hopefully your liver will be able to recover in time. I had a pretty catastrophic reaction with sever damage to the bile ducts and came very close to being listed for a transplant, but appear to be on the road to full recovery now. I really hope you have a full recovery too.


billyde profile image

I'm having similar issues. Is anyone still watching this ?

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